Title: The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965

Author: Joan Stevens

Publication details: Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, 1966

Digital publication kindly authorised by: Sylvia Johnston

Part of: New Zealand Texts Collection

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The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965


page 106

Opinions. How good is Spinster? Opinions vary in a remarkable way. Here are a few:

"Anna Vorontosov is a major literary creation." (English review.)

"Spinster purports to be a novel, and in her efforts to pretend that what she has to say about how to teach reading is material for a novel the author has had recourse to a whole series of gimmicks ..." (One of the New Zealand educational journals.)

"Spinster cannot be given the highest marks as a novel. It is too uneven." (New Zealand Listener.)

"All this adds up to a recognisable human being. It is true that the reader is occasionally bored by some of her outpourings and irritated by her mawkish habit of nearly always calling children 'little ones', but then Anna in real life would certainly be irritating, and sometimes boring."22 (Landfall.)

"... a loose, rich, rhapsodic work that owes nothing to precedent . . .

"The author has created a highly original—if sometimes extravagantly implausible—character; but her greatest triumph is the evocation in all its fruitful anarchy of the 'pre-fab' battlefield of races, theories, personalities." (E. H. McCormick.)

Take your pick!

(Notes for a critical discussion will be found in the Appendix.)